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Sailor dies in Royal Ocean Racing Club race to Cherbourg

by Richard Gladwell on 18 Jun 2011
Morgan Cup 2011 participants were expected to face a tough race to Cherbourg in the RORC Season’s Points Championship. Rick Tomlinson © http://www.rick-tomlinson.com

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced the death of a competitor in the Cowes-Cherbourg race, which started late Friday afternoon in strong winds.

The statement reads:

It is with great regret that the Royal Ocean Racing Club has to report a tragic loss of life during the RORC Morgan Cup race from Cowes to Cherbourg.

A 46-year-old British sailor lost his life after falling overboard during the race, which started in Cowes at 1900 on Friday night. It is understood that the accident took place approximately 17 miles South East of the Isle of Wight. The Coastguard and Lifeboat services were called to assist the crew who recovered the man but were unable to revive him. The boat returned to port in the UK overnight.

The yacht was one of seventy-two experienced offshore race boats taking part in the race.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the family, who have been informed.

Ian Loffhagen
Racing Manager
Royal Ocean Racing Club


In a later report the Daily Telegraph said:

Chris Reddish, 46, fell from his sailing boat 'Lion' 10 miles off the coast of Selsey Bill while taking part in the Morgan Cup Race between Cowes in the Isle of Wight and Cherbourg in France.

Mr Reddish, from Clapham, south west London, fell overboard at 11.45pm on Friday and was pulled from the water by fellow crew members but was pronounced dead at the scene by a doctor who was also on board.

It is understood that Mr Reddish's son Alex was among the eight-strong crew.

Solent Coastguard received a mayday call shortly after midnight and scrambled a helicopter to the scene.

A spokesman said: 'We got a mayday call from a yacht in the Morgan Cup race with reports of man overboard.

'We requested the helicopter to scramble and while this was in the process of happening, they subsequently recovered the person. There was a doctor on board who pronounced the man dead.'

For the full report from the Daily Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/sailing/8584195/Yachtsman-dies-after-falling-overboard-in-cross-Channel-race.html!click_here

In its pre-Race briefing the RORC noted:

Weather models are predicting a wet beat to Cherbourg; it could well suit those yachts and crew that can best handle the tough conditions. Tactical weather expert Mike Broughton will be in the afterguard of pocket rocket Keronimo for the race.

'A large area of low pressure has been stationary 200 miles west of Ireland all week. By Friday morning it looks like a secondary low pressure system will be riding around its southern flank, moving like a slingshot towards the south western approaches. There will be gales in the western channel with Force 6/7 in the central channel from the westerly quadrant. However, it all depends on the final track of this system; even a little change in its direction will make a big change in the conditions for the race. It certainly looks like being windy on Saturday morning with potentially 25 to 30 knots from the west at dawn. If the low pressure system tracks south or intensifies, we could see significantly more wind and a difficult sea state,' commented Broughton.

RORC Racing Manager Ian Loffhagen believes that heavy weather sailing experienced this season by the competitors has provided ideal preparation for the highlight of the championship, the forthcoming Rolex Fastnet Race.

'The Morgan Cup Race is the seventh race of the RORC Season's Points Championship and nearly all of them have been tough. Many of the yachts competing this weekend will be taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race,' commented Loffhagen. 'The Club's Notice of Race clearly states that each yacht shall exercise her responsibility under RRS Fundamental Rule 4 and decide whether or not to start or to continue to race. The responsibility for a boat's decision to participate in a race or to continue racing is hers alone.'


Around 100 yachts had entered for the cross-Channel race, but about 30 pulled out before the start when they became aware of the weather forecast. Approximately half of the eventual 72 starters failed to finish.

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